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What I Learn From People in Bad Financial Shape

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Bad Financial Shape

Being a financial coach, I have the ability to see people in both great and bad financial positions.

To be the best coach that I can, I rely on seeing (and more importantly learning) from everyone’s situation. Thankfully, I can take this knowledge to better guide the next client I meet with (who may be experiencing something similar).

In other words, I gain a lot of perspective which is a key value proposition that any service provider needs to bring to the table. Let’s face it, the reason you listen to your dentist when they tell you to start flossing is they’ve seen what people endure who haven’t. Working with clients of all different financial health levels gives me that same perspective. It allows me to give the best advice I can.

Needless to say, there is plenty to learn from those with great financial health. It’s simple to take their little nugget of advice and file it away for others to use. But, can you learn from people whose financial health is poor (and I don’t mean simply refrain from what got them there)?

Absolutely, you can! However, there are more nuanced lessons to be learned. For starters, it’s important to classify “poor financial health.” I’d call it people who are later in life with very little saved and those who have more credit card debt than they should. (Most often, they themselves know they are way behind the eight ball.)

The Lesson.

Enough with the suspense already! What I’ve learned I can sum up as a simple life lesson.

Life has a funny way of working out.

This principal spans to other aspects of life and not just your financial health. It’s amazing what I’ve seen (and coached) people through! I’ve seen people go from in dire straits to a healthy financial lifestyle.

Ironically, this is a hard principal for me to accept (especially given my type A personality). As a matter of fact, it took years to make me believe. What I’ve noticed, however, is life does find a way to work itself out. Where I would lose sleep, many of these individuals keep a positive attitude. Of course, their path may alter somewhat along the way. Nonetheless, they stay happy throughout. Instead of worrying about every last thing, they live life to the fullest!

Indeed, this was a hard lesson for me to learn. I see a situation and I want to correct it immediately. After years in this business, I realized everyone’s path is different–what makes people happy or worried varies from person to person. The process is akin to meeting with a personal trainer. While they would love to have the unilateral goal of making everyone have 2% body fat and a six pack, in reality they just want to make their clients feel comfortable and healthy. In a funny way, it’s exactly how I feel as a financial “personal trainer.”

Related: Six Minor Adjustments for Major Financial Impact

I’ve taken this lesson to heart (as a kind of mantra). It’s my reminder that no matter how bad a situation is, it too shall pass. This condition will not define me and I will get through it (even if I can’t see my way out yet)!

To date, I haven’t come across a situation where this doesn’t hold true.

The Lessons Continue.

I’m thankful for all my clients. While I live to help each and every one, they in return continue to teach and help me strive to be the best advisor I can. It’s what distinguishes me and my partners from a computer model–the fact we give advice through real life experience.

Don’t read this article and go tell your spouse that Andrew says it’s OK to keep piling on debt. Rather, know that no matter how bad things may seem, life truly does have a funny way of working out.

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